Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Day 3: Hyena heaven

The hyenas finally found their moment just before dawn, and the hippo kill finally became theirs. By 6am, more than 15 hyenas had converged on what was left of the carcass.


However, after more than 72 hours, there's not a lot left to this once-massive beast.


Once they finished all the meat on the hippo, our beloved bone-crackers started in on the skeleton. Here, you can see the effects of their unbelievable jaws...they can (with not a whole lot of effort) break right through the ribs to get to the marrow.


However, apparently hyenas' amazing eating skills don’t extend to hippo hide. This stuff is amazingly think, and apparently pretty hyena-proof. They gnaw and gnaw on it, but it’s kind of like a dog chewing on rawhide. You know that eventually it will disappear, but it doesn’t look easy (or delicious).


This hyena tried a different strategy: maybe there’s something UNDER this nasty tough skin! Unfortunately...there wasn’t. He settled down and began to chew like everyone else.


By late morning, nothing was left but a few straggling hyenas, a spinal column, and a big slab of hippo hide.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hippo jerky. Does it taste like chicken?

Katy said...

Love the photo of him digging underneath the hide!

Dan said...

Great photos!

Robin M. Weare said...

An impressive display of how fast animal remains can be recycled!


Michigan State University | College of Natural Science